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Here’s my latest Red Hook ex-Revere Sugar space foto, looking like a war zone. Change–improvement or degradation– is threatening, generating equal stress levels. Names change too. Bay Ridge, for example, used to be Gelen Hoek (“yellow hook” in Dutch for the mud color) and the Indians called it something else before that.
Recently the NY Times ran a story about an impending name change for the Molly Pitcher rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike. No! Please. Molly Pitcher sparked my interest in history in sixth grade. Several unforgettable Mollys have enriched my inner life since then. Ships attract me in part for their names; Surfer Rosa, featured earlier this year, is poetry in steel. See the bridge below and imagine some new names.
So the name “Bayonne Bridge” may lack the art of the girder assemblage, but I’d rather pay tolls than have it free but corporate sponsors calling ( repainted) Golden Arches or Dunkin’ Donuts Bridge. Goethals could become Gucci or even a menacing-sounding Gap Bridge. Yikes. And then the Verrazano Bridge might be the Verizon Bridge or *intriguing* Victoria’s Secret Arch . . . I hope the energy drink Propel never sponsors a bridge.
Please make “Molly Pitcher” stay; I’d never have been interested in history had it not been for the foto of Molly in my history book, a passion that keeps me sane whenever I must drive the NJ Turnpike.